Coca-Cola is debuting its first new flavor across America in more than a decade

Orange Vanilla Coke & Orange Vanilla Coke Zero SugarCoca-Cola

  • Coca-Cola is launching its first new flavor in more than a decade, with Orange Vanilla Coke and Orange Vanilla Coke Zero Sugar.
  • The soda giant decided to launch the new flavor after noticing that sales of flavored beverages - like Vanilla Coke and Cherry Coke - were growing without substantial marketing or innovation.
  • Taste testers deemed Orange Vanilla Coke a worthy, Creamsicle-esque addition to the classic Coca-Cola portfolio.

Coca-Cola is debuting its first new flavor in more than a decade.

On Friday, the company announced that Orange Vanilla Coke and Orange Vanilla Coke Zero Sugar will be available across the United States in late February.

Coca-Cola began exploring the possibility of adding new flavors of its classic cola about a year ago, following the launch of Coke Zero Sugar in the US, Coca-Cola trademark brand director Kate Carpenter told Business Insider.

"We had not touched our flavors from an innovation standpoint point - or really a messaging or marketing standpoint - for a really long time," Carpenter said. "But, despite that, our flavor portfolio was growing."

According to Carpenter, retail sales of flavored Coca-Cola beverages grew 2% through the third quarter without substantial marketing. Americans are increasingly looking for variety, especially as many have stopped drinking soda as an everyday routine. Last year, Diet Coke jump-started sales after releasing four new flavors, including Feisty Cherry and Twisted Mango.

Read more: Millennials almost killed Diet Coke - now they're fueling its turnaround

Coca-Cola settled on Orange Vanilla as the new flavor after a successful test in Canada, where several different flavors had been available for a limited time. Further testing proved that people were drawn to the "unexpected familiarity" of the drink.

Taste testers at Business Insider confirmed that the drink was more appealing than expected, describing it as a sweet, Creamsicle-esque cola with notes of Fanta. The drink avoids emphasizing any acidity of orange that could clash with Coca-Cola's classic flavors, producing a smooth, albeit borderline saccharine, drink.

In addition to the new flavor, Coca-Cola is launching new packaging for other flavors, such as Cherry and Vanilla. Coca-Cola is also launching a marketing campaign intended to promote Orange Vanilla Coke, as well as highlight other flavored colas.

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